<p>&nbsp;Viola Davis</p>
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 Viola Davis

Credit: Joel Ryan/AP

The Fien Print's Academy Awards 2012 Live-Blog

From Billy Crystal to an endless string of 'Artist' wins, join the conversation...

I've spent the last two-plus hours live-tweeting all of the red carpet Oscars fun, but now it's time to get "serious" and by "serious" I mean "bring page views to HitFix." Thus, welcome to my Oscars live-blog. Join the conversation. I'll try to chat along in the comments during commercial breaks!

Before we get started, you wanna know what I'm rooting for tonight? ANYTHING surprising. So if Spencer, Plummer, Davis, Dujardin, Hazanavicious and "The Artist," "The Artist," "The Artist" and "The Artist," it's gonna be a grumpy evening. I don't need for all of the favorites to lose. Heck, some of them are the deserving winners. But gimme a Gary Oldman win or something... Just to keep things interesting. Is that too much to ask?

Let's find out, after the break...

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<p>Misa &amp; Maiya at the &quot;Amazing Race&quot; Pit Stop</p>
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Misa & Maiya at the "Amazing Race" Pit Stop

Credit: CBS

HitFix Interview: Misa & Maiya talk 'The Amazing Race'

What went wrong and how did they miss Phil at the Pit Stop?
Misa and Maiya Tanaka finished the season's opening "Amazing Race" challenge, a balloon search in a Santa Barbara vineyard, in last. That wasn't why they were eliminated.
 
They also finished the season's first Roadblock, a combination of skydiving and map-based navigation, in last. That wasn't why they were eliminated.
 
Instead, Misa & Maiya sped through an empanada-making challenge in Argentina and seemed to be on the verge of surviving an astounding number of opening leg missteps to remain in the Race ahead of Joey "Fitness" & Danny.
 
But after recovering their bags from a nearby cab and heading in the direction of the Pit Stop, the San Diego-based sisters were unable to spot host Phil Keoghan waiting for them patiently at the mat. As Phil stood and watched in sad confusion, Misa & Maiya ran off in a different direction and, finding nothing there, eventually returned, by which time it was too late. 
 
A couple days after their elimination episode aired, I caught up with car buyer Misa and professional golfer Maiya for the season's first "Amazing Race" exit interview. 
 
Click through for the full transcript...
 
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<p>Maggie Smith does not need to worry</p>
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Maggie Smith does not need to worry

Credit: PBS

What impact will 'Downton Abbey' shifting Emmy categories have?

If 'Downton' is no longer a miniseries, how will its hopes be impacted?
In a move that's almost shocking in its logic and truthfulness, PBS' "Downton Abbey" will reportedly depart the miniseries category for this fall's Emmys and move into the far more appropriate and competitive drama field.
 
The news first broke on GoldDerby.com, which got this somewhat confusing quote from TV Academy awards chief John Leverence.
 
"After starting out as a miniseries, 'Downton Abbey' caught fire and so now it moves over to drama series category as it plans for future TV seasons," Leverence tells Gold Derby. "It follows the trajectory of previous shows like 'The Starter Wife' that started out as a miniseries and then became a regular series."
 
Leverence's quote makes the confusing assertion that it was success that made "Downton Abbey" into a worthy entrant for the series field, rather than "Downton Abbey" simply being a TV series that was miscategorized last year and then moved into the correct category this year. 
 
It would be too much, presumably, for Leverence to say, "Yeah, British TV shows confuse us." After all, does the shift of "Downton Abbey" to the correct category mean that the TV Academy will also stop calling "Luther" a miniseries? And will this enforce a ripple effect that will cause the Golden Globes and the various guilds to also stop calling "Downton Abbey" (and "Luther" and "The Hour") a movie/miniseries or will it exist only in isolation?
 
The big question, and the reason I'm writing this as blog post rather than as a news story, is what impact moving "Downton Abbey" into the drama field will have on various category races that are already the most heated on Emmy night.
 
[More after the break...]
 
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<p>Nina of &quot;Survivor: One World&quot;</p>
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Nina of "Survivor: One World"

Credit: CBS

HitFix Interview: Nina Acosta talks 'Survivor: One World'

The latest 'Survivor' castoff explains, again, why the Women blew it
Because Kourtney Moon's elimination in Week 1 was an injury-based decision, on Wednesday (Feb. 22) night, the women of "Survivor: One World" were required to vote somebody out for the first time.
 
The dysfunctional women of Salani, seemingly incapable of winning any kind of challenge, faced a choice: Either vote out giggling, farting, sheltered Kat, who almost single-handedly cost them the episode's Immunity Challenge,  or Nina, 51-year-old former police officer whose exact skills within the game had yet to be tested.
 
In the end, it apparently wasn't a hard decision. Kat had been part of a majority alliance of younger women established on the hike to camp, while Nina was on the outside trying to desperately to get anybody to listen to her plea that the tribe would be weaker with Kat remaining. Alliance trumped logic and Nina was sent packing.
 
In this week's "Survivor" exit interview, Nina Acosta talks more about Kat's liabilities, explains why Men vs. Women was her biggest nightmare and breaks down why only luck will prevent her former tribe from getting routed.
 
Click through for the full interview...
 
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<p>Your &quot;American Idol&quot; judges pass... judgement</p>
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Your "American Idol" judges pass... judgement

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'American Idol' - Final Judgment, Part 2 - Live-Blog

The final 10 singers in the Top 24 are revealed

On Wednesday night, "American Idol" revealed the first 14 members of this season's Top 24. 

It took two hours.

On Thursday (Feb. 23), "American Idol" will knock out the remaining 10 singers in the Top 24 in what is sure to be a relatively brisk hour. 

Then, next week, "Idol" will finally begin the business of seeing if America cares enough to vote for a winner this season.

Click through to learn the identities of No.15-24...

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<p>Oscars host Billy Crystal</p>
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Oscars host Billy Crystal

Credit: ABC

HitFix Interview: Writer Carol Leifer discusses Billy Crystal's Oscars return

Seven-time Oscars writer explains the advantages of comfort food
The Return of Billy Crystal is one of the biggest stories of Sunday (Feb. 26) night's Academy Awards telecast, but behind the familiar face is a familiar returning voice.
 
Longtime stand-up favorite and "Seinfeld" and "Larry Sanders" veteran Carol Leifer, fresh off a WGA award as part of the "Modern Family" staff, is writing for the Oscars for the seventh time, her third time writing for and with Crystal as host.
 
Just days away from the Oscars, I chatted with Leifer about why viewers will treat Crystal like comfort food after last year's less-than-warmly-received telecast, whether the writers are concerned about the perception "The Artist" has the night's big awards in the bag and how she wants people to discuss the show on Monday morning.
 
Click through for the full interview...
 
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<p>Kat of &quot;Survivor: One World&quot;</p>
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Kat of "Survivor: One World"

Credit: CBS

Recap: 'Survivor: One World' - 'Total Dysfunction'

The Women tire of Colton and have new problems of their own
Pre-credit sequence. The Women return to camp after skating through Tribal Council without voting anybody off. Mike greets them by making it clear that he kept their fire going in their absence. Kat isn't impressed by his generosity, plus she's also terrified by bugs. Before bed, Christina takes Alicia aside and tries to set things right. To the camera, Alicia claims that Tribal Council went exactly the way she planned. After Christina vents and Alicia ignores, they shake hands. They hug. You'd think Alicia wants Christina out next, but you'd be kinda wrong. "Nina looks like a bag of rocks and I don't even know what that analogy means," Alicia teases. Interesting. And confusing.
 
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<p>FOX had no pictures from Wednesday's &quot;Idol,&quot; so I'm going to assume these four people were involved.</p>
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FOX had no pictures from Wednesday's "Idol," so I'm going to assume these four people were involved.

Credit: FOX

Recap: 'American Idol' - Final Judgment, Part 1 - Live-Blog

The contestants perform one last time and the judges deliberate

Is everybody ready for tonight's 12-hour "American Idol"?

Oh, I kid. It's only six hours.

I kid again!

Wednesday's (Feb. 22) "American Idol" is only TWO hours.

See? It doesn't sound so bad anymore, does it? 

You're welcome.

On to the recap, after the break...

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<p>&quot;Suburgatory&quot;</p>
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"Suburgatory"

Credit: ABC

HitFix Interview: Creator Emily Kapnek talks 'Suburgatory'

Alicia Silverstone, ensemble building and other ABC comedy issues
Viewers still have eight more episodes of "Suburgatory" to look forward to this season, but the ABC comedy actually wrapped production on its first season early last week. 
 
Series creator Emily Kapnek and her creative team still have many weeks of post-production ahead of them, but it seemed like a good time to discuss the evolution of what has been one of the pleasant surprises of the 2011-2012 season.
 
"Suburgatory" started as the story of George (Jeremy Sisto) and Tessa (Jane Levy), a father and daughter who flee New York City for what was initially a very, very, very heightened version of the suburbs. 
 
Months later, "Suburgatory" continues to be anchored by Sisto and particularly Levy, but the supporting cast of Chatswin scene stealers has become one of the deepest on TV, drawing terrific performances from co-stars and recurring players like Cheryl Hines, Ana Gasteyer, Chris Parnell, Carly Chaikin, Alan Tudyk, Allie Grant, Maestro Harrell, Rex Lee and Parker Young. Stick around later this season and Alicia Silverstone will reunite with "Clueless" chum Sisto.
 
In our conversation, Kapnek discusses the challenges of making time for the full ensemble, keeping George and Tessa believable, figuring out the right number of "Clueless" in-jokes for Silverstone, why we may not see many more flashbacks and why characters keep dancing by themselves.
 
Click through for the full interview. And no... Not a word about the "Suburgatory" alt-narrative...
 
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Credit: HBO

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 116

Dan and Alan talk 'Downton Abbey,' 'On Freddie Roach' and answer mail

The

Happy Monday, Boys & Girls!
 
The banks may be closed for some alleged holiday, but The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast remains in business.
 
This week, we talked about the full season of "Downton Abbey" following its premiere on Sunday, we caught up with HBO's excellent "On Freddie Roach" and we answer a lot of Listener Mail (and we've collected a lot more for the weeks to come). Good times!
 
Here's the breakdown:
"Downton Abbey" (00:01:30 - 00:21:00)
"On Freddie Roach" (00:21:00 - 00:29:30)
Dan's Reality Roundup (00:29:30 - 00:44:10)
Listener Mail - Pilots (00:45:55 - 00:59:10)
Listen Mail - Linsanity and Asian Representations (00:59:10 - 01:07:00)
Listener Mail - Critically acclaimed shows we don't acclaim (01:07:00 - 01:13:45)
Listener Mail - The Ann Perkins Problem (01:13:50 - 01:18:40)
Listener Mail - FOX's truncated schedule (01:18:50 - 01:22:25)

As always, you can subscribe to The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast over at the iTunes Store, where you can also rate us and comment on us. [Or you can always follow our RSS Feed.] 

And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.

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